The growth of U.S. Hispanic population on the Internet has accelerated faster than once expected in recent years. Fifty-two percent of the population are now online, representing 23 million users, according to new report issued by eMarketer - who just two years ago predicted that the Hispanic Web population wouldn't exceed 20 million until the end of the decade.

Now, the Web researcher forecasts that 29 million Hispanics will be online by 2012, representing nearly 60 percent of the fast growing population. That growth surge--there were just 15.7 million Hispanics on the Web as recently as 2005--is being driven primarily by the young and native born Hispanics, says eMarketer, rather than immigrants.

This young segment of relatively new Web users, which represents 13.5 percent of the total U.S. Internet population, are generally bilingual--unlike many of their parents--but are not necessarily being reached by brands' ad efforts on mainstream Web sites, found eMarketer. In addition, this swelling collection of wired Hispanics are highly diversified when it comes to ethnic background and regional preference, making them difficult to target for media buyers in a homogenous fashion, according to the report.

"To reach Hispanic consumers online, marketers must take a more nuanced approach, going beyond language preference to target niches within this demographic," says the report. For example, Mexican Americans may respond to different messaging than Colombian Americans, as may Hispanics living in highly diverse U.S. Markets versus those living in areas that are less so. "Online campaigns that target local markets with local references will resonate more than a one-size-fits-all approach."

Meanwhile, though Web penetration is growing rapidly among Hispanics, this group still has a ways to go to catch up to other large segments of the digital population. According to eMarketer, 68.6 percent of non-Hispanic whites are currently on the Web, as are 74.8 percent of Asian-Americans and 53.8 percent of African-Americans.